DISCLAIMER: Not mine, making no money. Chris and Vin belong to the ones who created them. Just borrowing for awhile.

RATING: R

WARNINGS: Sexual situations and insinuations. Some cuss words.

NOTES/COMMENTS: Chris' POV. Not beta'd. (Poem "Eyes" written by Janalyn Robnett. 1-4-01. Much obliged.) Dedicated to those who love backrubs. <G>

SUMMARY: Chris' musings on a night out in the desert with Vin.

Got Your Back, Pard
by Heart Quest

I've heard it said that some men look like Adonis. Sculpted body, a face that'd take your breath away. Never more was this true than with Vin Tanner. The man sends my knees buckling when he tilts that gorgeous head of his a certain way and smiles. I wonder what he looked like when he was younger, before the hard edge of living claimed his features.

He aches sometimes. His back is so damned curved that he walks with a slight hitch to his step. He told me what it was, some abnormal twist to his lower back. When he rides for hours on end, he begins to cringe and wince as the pain shoots up his back. He lowers his hat over his eyes to avoid being seen, but I see him...plain as day. Maybe because he wants me to see him like that, or maybe because I want to know when he's in pain. That damn back is really the only flaw to his perfect body. And if it's somethin' he can live with I reckon I can, too. And I live with it as well as I can before my hands begin their dance over his spine. I warm at the memories of how many times I've made him groan as I straddle his hips, him lying on his stomach, my hands gently applying pressure to his back. That's when I see the curve clearly. It looks painful. I feel his spine pop under my fingers. And he groans. The pleasure seepin' out of him like cool water from a pump. The liniment soaks into his skin and though it smells like shit, I love the way it helps to ease his pain. I love those moments. Taking his pain from him. We say things to each other. He'll tell me he loves my hands, that I'm sendin' him to heaven and I ain't even touched his privates yet. He tells me with those words and that groanin' how much he needs me and wants me and I can't help but be grateful to his pain. I'd give anything to know he doesn't suffer it anymore, but if he must then I'm glad to minister to him in some way.

We have great sex and we please each other, but when I'm on his back and doin' my dance, it's that intimate moment between us...the kind that bonds us on a different level. "You want me to do this fer ya', Chris?" he asks.

I ease him to the edge of sleep. "I need release in another way, Cowboy," I tell him.

And we begin another dance, our bodies twistin and turnin' and casting us into the far reaches of our desires. Vin knows what pleases me and he makes no attempts to keep that pleasure from me. And in the end, the shelter of our arms eases away the exhaustion and we lay there...just loving each other. "How's your back?" I ask, concerned.

"Low pain," he tells me. "Your hands are miracles, Chris."

I kiss his head as he lays there on my chest listening to my heartbeat. What must it sound like to him? He's always listening to it, like it's a song for him to hold to his own heart. Maybe in a way it is. All I know is it lulls him to sleep every damn time. I love to watch him sleep. He gets so little rest. It must be a relief for him to know someone is there, watching his back. His body relaxes against mine, goes heavier and I know he's down for the count. I can feel his breathing under my arm as I wrap it around his back and shoulders. His shoulders go up and down slowly, deep sleep. He doesn't often get to fall into sleep like this. It makes me happy to know he can trust me enough to let the strain go. Either with his back...or with his life. "Got your back, Pard," I whisper as I lean down and kiss his head. In his deep state of sleep, even then he can read my mind and I feel his arm tighten around my chest, his fingers resting on my other shoulder.

I fall asleep, and for him I sleep with one eye open. I got him in my life...and I aim to keep him. If anyone tries to take him from me, they'll never forget who they had to go through first to get to him. I reach out and check the load in my gun. Full chambers. I draw it closer as the fire crackles in the night air.

He stirs and a groggy voice asks, "Chris?"

"Shhh, just gettin' comfortable. Go back to sleep."

In seconds he does just that. His trust in me is so deep, sometimes it washes over me like a calm flood, fillin' my eyes. My hands begin their dance again, softer, though, not as rough, more like the wind caressing his skin. His arm, his shoulder, and back down his arm again. He nestles closer and the sleep takes him away once more. I hold the gun in my right hand and listen intently to the sounds around me. I have a life to protect. Vin's and my own. One life. Never thought of it that way. Guess I didn't need to. We share souls, so I reckon we share life.

It's quiet around us. No sounds of approaching danger. I ease back, but keep a relaxed hold on the gun. Vin's gun is near him as well. But for now he knows I'll be keeping guard. As long as he gets the sleep he needs, I can go without. It's a small price to pay knowing he'll be alive in the morning.

And when the morning comes, Vin awakens and, as he always does, he rewards me so lovingly that I look forward to watching the sun come up with only a few hours sleep under my eyes. He gives me back what I need to keep giving to him. Damn tracker knows how to give abundantly, too. "Your turn," he growls and turns me onto my stomach, where he begins to knead out the knots. "Slept so damn well, Cowboy, got to thank y'all the only way I know how."

I grin. I love the idea of give and take. If Vin loves my hands, I damn well want to marry his. I groan. He grins. "Like that, don't ya'?"

"Love it," I reply with a whisper. He leans over and kisses my neck. "Love ya'."

I reach out and grab his arm, pulling him down. We kiss. His tongue enters my mouth and wrestles with mine. I can't get enough of those damn pouting lips of his. They turn me on somethin' fierce. Knowing they're mine gives me a sense of pride. He pulls away and grins when I moan my displeasure at the broken contact. "I gots plenty more of that fer ya, Pard, don't fret none." I lay back down and his hands continue their own dance on my spine as he eases down and back, down and back.

"A stirrin' in my soul, causes me to know he is my life." Vin speaks softly and I know he's been working on this poem for a long time. Been waiting for the right moment to recite it. He'll do that every now and again, just to warm my own soul with his words. Like a fountain, refreshin' the thirsty spirit.

"Emerald eyes that are most valuable to me. I am his treasure chest. Under lock and key they rest. Protected. He calls my eyes the ocean. He rides the water, in rhythm to the waves. He swims beneath the surface and claims the riches buried there. He embraces me in my depths and my waves calm to smooth surface. The ripples of my soul never disappear, but for him, I give him my calm. For he keeps the storms at bay."

I reach for him, turning over at the same time, letting him see my face. "That was beautiful, Vin."

He smiles. He's always unsure if I'll like what he creates, but I do. Every precious line he scribes in his heart is like a picture painted for my mind to see. I pull him into another kiss and want to drink in those ocean depths, just like he said. I want to ease the rough surface waters until only ripples of calm remain. He's straddling my hips and as I pull him closer to me our groins touch and we both know. We both know we ain't leaving this ground until we've calmed each other again.

I think both of our backs are strong enough for the task.

~Fin~


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